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Plaid members were ‘active bystanders’ of bullying and harassment, MS admits

11 May 2023 4 minute read
Cefin Campbell MS

Plaid Cymru members were “active bystanders” to the bullying, misogyny and harassment going on in the party, one of its politicians has admitted as he apologised to victims.

Cefin Campbell, Senedd member for Mid and West Wales, told the PA news agency he had heard of incidents happening over several years and claimed many of the issues predated Adam Price becoming leader.

Mr Price quit as head of the Welsh pro-independence party on Wednesday night days after a damning review found evidence of a “toxic” culture within the group which had particularly let down female staff and discouraged people from speaking out.

The new interim leader, Llyr Gruffydd MS, who was nominated on Thursday vowed to begin tackling existing cultural problems and regain the confidence lost over the scandal.

But it comes as there is growing concern within the party that there is no obvious successor to the permanent leader role.

Mr Campbell told PA: “This is a difficult time for Plaid Cymru, it’s something that other political parties have been through and the spotlight is on us now and we have to deal with that.

“We are absolutely committed to deliver on the 82 recommendations in that report, because they are so important for us to create a workplace where staff feel safe, supported and valued.

“We recognise that we’ve not done some things right – and this goes back a long while in the party’s history and predates Adam Price’s leadership.

“We can only say sorry to those who have been deeply offended and the victims of that inappropriate behaviour, and we’ve just got to put it right.”

Asked if he had witnessed incidents of inappropriate behaviour himself, Mr Campbell said: “I haven’t personally seen that, but I have heard of incidents and we have to take responsibility for that.

Collective

“Many of us have been active bystanders in many ways, and this is why many of us feel it was a little unfair to put the blame on Adam Price… because he should not have to carry the can on his own because it was a collective thing.

“But he’s done the honourable thing after thinking hard about what he should do.”

Mr Campbell would not confirm whether he intends to enter the leadership contest but said he was confident the party would find someone to take the independence movement forward.

Speaking on BBC Radio Cymru on Thursday afternoon, Mr Gruffydd said it was necessary to “regain confidence, where confidence has been lost internally” in order to “start the work of restoring confidence externally”.

He added: “We are not hiding the size of the challenge that lies ahead of us, that is clearly something that is going to be a central focus of mine if I have the opportunity to fulfil this role.”

Mr Gruffydd’s nomination for the role will have to be ratified by the party’s national executive council on Saturday, but if approved it is understood he will not be able to stand in the forthcoming leadership contest.

Among names to be suggested as the next possible leader are Rhun ap Iorweth, the member for Ynys Mon, who is poised to stand as an MP.

Should he still decide to run for Parliament it would make him ineligible for the Senedd chief seat.

Delyth Jewell MS, who represents the South Wales East region, has also been mentioned, as has Senedd speaker Elin Jones who has served Ceredigion in the Welsh Parliament since 1999.

Both Mr Gruffydd and Plaid’s Westminster leader Liz Saville Roberts have said whoever is chosen, going forward women within the party must feel “empowered” and their voices “elevated”.

Welsh Labour MP Tonia Antoniazzi said in a tweet: “An apology to the victims of bullying and harassment should be the first thing a leader with any shred of integrity would do, then leave.”


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Sorgina
Sorgina
9 months ago

I wonder if PC will tackle the same issues at constituency and branch level, where they are rife.

Ivor Schilling
Ivor Schilling
9 months ago
Reply to  Sorgina

That’s a good point. Following the recent line of thinking, perhaps each chairperson of each branch and constituency may be called to now resign as a result of the behaviour of others in close proximity to them.

Last edited 9 months ago by Ivor Schilling
Geraint
Geraint
9 months ago
Reply to  Ivor Schilling

The TUC survey on abuse at work shows that 2/3rds of young women have suffered abuse in the work place. A large number of major organisations have also reported unacceptable behaviour by senior individuals which could well be the tip of the iceburgh. It is clear that many places are unsafe for women. Hopefully we will not only see change in Plaid Cymru but in our society generally.

Iago Prydderch
Iago Prydderch
9 months ago

‘Both Mr Gruffydd and Plaid’s Westminster leader Liz Saville Roberts have said whoever is chosen, going forward women within the party must feel “empowered” and their voices “elevated”.’

In other words, Jewell for leader! She’s been elevated to leader in waiting for months.

Having another female leader won’t fix the problem when the bullying took place under the last female leader. Are they going to name the culprits or are they just going to continue covering it up!

max wallis
max wallis
9 months ago

Trumped up disciplinary complaints were used by the Leanne/GarethClubb duo. My AnneGreagsby got one from Clubb’s friend in the Plaid Group. A vigorous complaint to the Party chair got him to tell Clubb to back off from his use of Exec powers in his own branch. But he came back for revenge later on, phoning round to get women at a rigged meeting of the then moribund Plaid Women to submit counter-complaints at Anne pointing out the re-election of the favoured in-group woman to Plaid Council badly breached the rules. That did result in reviving Plaid Women and the culprit… Read more »

Gareth Westacott
Gareth Westacott
9 months ago
Reply to  max wallis

These days, the very slightest expression of dissent or doubt about the biological possibility of a man actually turning into a woman (and vice versa) can draw howls of outrage and accusations of ‘transphobia’.

max wallis
max wallis
9 months ago

Anne fought the “transphobic” accusation, despite it coming from a Plaid officer (Mabli Jones) with complicity of CEO Gareth Clubb inferred, because she believed in exposing the attempts to smuggle trans-beliefs into Plaid. Believing in open politics, she’d shown up Leanne’s “Inclusive Feminism” article and saw an opportunity for debating further. But Plaid’s disciplinary procedure is handicapping, in preventing publicity of a case. Ideal for Officers bullying the accused.

max wallis
max wallis
9 months ago
Reply to  max wallis

correction: … A vigorous complaint to the Party chair, Alun Ffred failed to get him to tell Clubb to back off—-

wayne
wayne
9 months ago

By the admission ….’“Many of us have been active bystanders in many ways,…’  Then the many should follow Adam Price and stand down SM’s, MP’s and management. Why was Carl Harris moved on in December 2022? Why was the Herald silenced in 2022 by PC over a young male victim of sexual assault. The Police did nothing?

Ivor Schilling
Ivor Schilling
9 months ago
Reply to  wayne

All of which goes to show, this is mere political machinations masquerading as ethical concerns. Its naked willpower, of networks of friends, dressed up as supposedly deep moral differences and priorities.

But you know what they say, what goes around comes around!

wayne
wayne
9 months ago

I read with interest….Welsh Labour MP Tonia Antoniazzi said in a tweet: “An apology to the victims of bullying and harassment should be the first thing a leader with any shred of integrity would do, then leave.”….A hypocrite when the staff of her office in the Gower were involved in covering up violent and sustained attack on an innocent woman, And SW Police did nothing as they were linked to Tonia’s office. A complaint made to Labour HQ is in the Que and that Que is long currently running 2 yrs late.

Arthur Owen
Arthur Owen
9 months ago
Reply to  wayne

I see that a female English Labour MP is accusing a Labour front bencher of sexual assault.Presumablly Ken Skates will advocating cutting ties with them as well,sorry no that is the party Welsh Labour belong to.

Gill
Gill
9 months ago

Will they now drop the ridiculous cooked up hysterical, charges of trans hate against Helen Mary then? Why is this political party so “mysoginistic” when it has had the likes of Elin Jones, Sian Gwenllian; Leanne Wood, Delyth Jewell, Sioned William, and others all playing leading roles in the party these last few years. Many gay people work for plaid thus watering down the male toxicity. You would think that all these people who preach “be kind” at others, would have been kinder to each other? Just goes to prove that bullying and toxicity is is not solely an Alpha… Read more »

Ivor Schilling
Ivor Schilling
9 months ago
Reply to  Gill

Very well put.

Neil McEvoy
Neil McEvoy
9 months ago

When as Plaid MS, I sacked my office manager. Amongst other things, a young female complained he her had harassed her. I complained about his behaviour. Leanne Wood said she could not get involved. Plaid then supported the man & called me a bully. The disciplinary panel said the poor man had been punished enough by me and took no action! I called out Simon Thomas before he was caught out. It was obvious he was a wrong un. Again, I was the problem. Don’t mention the disciplinary i was put on for saying that paedophile should have gone to… Read more »

Ivor Schilling
Ivor Schilling
9 months ago
Reply to  Neil McEvoy

Toxic females, as much as toxic males, and you’re right – we all witnessed them putting you through the ringer simply out of political jealousy, and your contrasting campaigning style relative to their complacent careerisms.

Are you not able to name the groping female AM?

Gareth plas
Gareth plas
9 months ago

Plaid are repeating that a lot of this predates AP, now, my thoughts are that as a leader, his job is to deal with these issues the old fashioned way, sack, demote bollock people and move on. One of the skills he should have is not to run away when something happens, perhaps he should never have been appointed in the first place. Plaid are now in the same boat as the SNP and the argument of breaking the union has taken another major blow.

Wrexhamian
Wrexhamian
9 months ago

Looks as if Neil McEvoy wasn’t the only target. And it certainly looks as if Plaid isn’t the only party at fault generally over such issues.

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